21 April 2022

RSPCA WA inspectors have rescued a whopping 56 guinea pigs from a singe home. And there's at least 20 babies still on the way. 

The breeding frenzy started with two pregnant females at a Wanneroo house six years ago, and ballooned unchecked, before the RSPCA intervened and worked with the overwhelmed owner to have the animals surrendered.

The mass intake has set a record for RSPCA WA, with guinea pig numbers up 250 per cent compared to last year.

RSPCA WA Shelter Manager Emily Smith said all 56 guinea pigs were unsterilised, some were in poor condition, and at least seven were pregnant.

‘I really hope this can serve as a reminder about how quickly breeding can get out of hand,’ she said

‘Guinea pigs can mate from as young as four weeks of age, and females can fall pregnant straight after giving birth. 

‘That’s why it’s so important to be sure of your animal’s sex, and keep males and females separate unless they’re sterilised.

RSPCA vets check a male guinea pig. A brown guinea pig being held up to the camera

‘When pet owners don’t do the right thing, unfortunately, the burden often falls on rescue groups to pick up the pieces and give these animals the attention and love they deserve.

‘To see our staff and volunteers pull together to safely bring these animals into care makes me really proud of the work we do.’

Ms Smith said most of the guinea pigs would require ongoing care, but some were healthy and able to be made available for adoption. 

She said now was a wonderful time for families to consider adopting a guinea pig companion. 

RSPCA vets checking a guinea pig in the clinic A brown and white guinea pig being held by an RSPCA animal attendant.

‘They are social and inquisitive creatures and make a lovely addition to the home,’ she said.

‘Like any other pet, they will depend on you for all their care needs, and they’re happiest when kept with other guinea pigs, so we’d suggest adopting a sterilised pair together.

‘Contrary to popular belief, guinea pigs are not a set-and-forget pet, they do need exercise and mental stimulation, but our team can walk you through everything you need to know.’

If you’re looking for a cuddly new friend, meet the available piggies here.

To find out more about caring for guinea pigs, click here.